New Bass Pro Shops resort may be coming to Northeast Florida


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County records show the company has purchased thousands of acres of property near Welaka and Satsuma in the past year.

WELAKA, Fla. — The outdoor retail giant Bass Pro Shops appears to have big plans for Putnam County.

County records show the company has purchased thousands of acres of property near Welaka and Satsuma in the past year.

The land is near the Floridian Sports Club, which Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris has owned and operated for 40 years.

Morris opened a wilderness resort in Branson, MO. in the late 80s. Big Cedar Lodge now includes 4,600 acres of golf courses, a 10,000-acre wildlife conservation refuge, a museum and resort amenities. Room rates range from an elegant tent (“glamping”) for $527 a night to a four bedroom “cottage” for $4,032 a night.

 A statement from the company says the land purchase is part of a plan to “spruce up” a nearby marina it has purchased on the St. Johns River.

According to the property appraiser’s office, various companies tied to Bass Pro Shops have purchased 231 pieces of land totaling more than 5,200 acres in the Welaka and Satsuma area.

You can read the full statement from Bass Pro Shops Below: 

“Thank you for reaching out earlier today. We are happy to provide this prompt response to your inquiry about the property our company, Bass Pro Shops, owns in Welaka. It is probably helpful to begin with some history. Our company has owned and operated the historic Floridian Sports Club Fish Camp in Welaka for the past 40-plus years. 

“Over the years, we have used the resort to host boat dealers, store managers, vendors and conservation groups. The founder of our company, a noted conservationist, Johhny Morris first fell in love with the St. John’s River and Welaka when he competed in the first national B.A.S.S. tournament on the St. Johns in the early 1970s. We have been proud to be part of the Welaka community for the past four decades and have a deep passion for this pristine area, known as the Bass Capitol of the World. 

“One year ago, we purchased the neighboring property formerly owned by Mrs. Sue Tredinick. In the same period of time, we purchased the adjoining Acosta Creek Marina and several other neighboring properties. We are sprucing up the marina and plan to continue to operate it to serve the public, open to boaters and anglers. 

“We appreciate that people in the community are anxious to know our future plans for the land that we recently purchased and we are aware that there is much speculation and rumor. The fact is, we have purchased this property because we love this land and this beautiful part of the world. We feel there is potential to expand the resort that we have owned for many years but have not created any specific plans for development at this time. 

“We are very proud of our reputation in conservation and for being good neighbors in the communities we serve. If and when we do create specific plans for commercial development, those plans will be appropriately shared.”

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